National Living Wage (rates and when they apply)

Rate from April 2017

Age Living Wage Rate
25+ years £7.50
21-24 £7.05
18-20 £5.60
16-17 £4.05
Apprentice £3.50

Workers must be paid the above rates according to their age group for every hour that they work.  The calculation is based on work as a whole.  That means if a person is paid a rate above the living wage for some of the work they do then that may balance out pay that falls below the living wage rate. 

Sleeping at work

National Living WageWorkers who are required to be in a specific place are considered to be at the disposal of their employers and must be paid the minimum applicable living wage even if they are able to sleep whilst on duty.  If a worker is required to sleep at work in case of an emergency (even if they are very rarely woken, they must be paid the living wage.)

The story would be different if a worker could go home but chose to sleep at work between shifts for their own convenience. The key factor is whether the employer requires and needs them there for a purpose. 

For example to maintain minimum staffing levels to comply with regulations in a care home.

What about workers who have accommodation provided instead of pay?

The government sets an accommodations offset rate, currently £6.40 per day which may be deducted when considering whether living wage levels are met. This is aimed at preventing unscrupulous employers deducting high levels of pay for providing accommodation meaning people are living in poverty because they have been provided accommodation.

No work available

Workers must be paid whilst they are at work even if there is no work available.

For example if there is a machine breakdown in a factory, workers must still be paid if they are required to stay at their place of work.

Workers on standby

Workers would need to be paid if they are required to be in a particular place.

For example, if a person is on standby and must remain with 10 minutes of their place of work then they should be paid.

A worker who is able to go about his or her normal day or stay at home but must keep a phone in case of being called out is less likely to qualify in those hours for the minimum wage.  The speed with which a person must respond to a call out will also determine whether their time is considered working time.

Rest breaks

Workers are entitled to rest breaks but they are not entitled to be paid for those rest breaks.

A worker cannot be docked pay for rest breaks which they are genuinely not able to take. 

Travelling between jobs

Workers are entitled to pay from the moment they start work until they finish work. 

For example, they are entitled to pay whilst travelling between patients or collections.

Travelling to and from work

Workers are not entitled to be paid the minimum wage when travelling from home to their ordinary place of work.  That means a person can travel for a few miles to start work but should be paid if they are required to start work in a place which is not their normal place of work, for example, a site a few hundred miles away.

Collecting tools or equipment

A worker who is required to visit a base and collect a vehicle or tools or materials etc and then travel to a place of work should be paid from the moment they arrive at that base and be paid for time travelling to the site at which they are working.

Training

Workers are entitled to be paid the living wage for time spent travelling to training. 

Strikes and Industrial action

Workers are not entitled to pay whilst they are taking industrial action

Living in accommodation provided for by work

Workers are not entitled to the living wage when off duty if they are living in accommodation provided by work but are not working.

For example, a teacher in a boarding school who is not on duty but lives in need not be paid when they are off duty.